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Old 19.07.2020, 12:47
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Getting started with fishing - kids mostly

I read a whole bunch of the threads on here and the canton info .. But it's information overload .. Courses, permits, places etc..

We just spent some time in a campsite on a river in France, we bought a 6 euro kids license from the campsite, (valid for a year all over FR), bought a 20 eur kids fishing set from Super U and job done, the kids spent hours in the river and actually caught some small fish which we released.. They loved it.

How do we practically replicate the experience here? Just taking the kids somewhere to catch and release.
Do I (or they) really need to take a course and exam?
Simple info on where it's allowed?
Simple info on what to catch where?

Thinking Lac de Joux, Lac Leman initially ..
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Old 19.07.2020, 14:10
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Re: Getting started with fishing - kids mostly

Catch and release is, in principle, forbidden in all Switzerland, as it falls under cruelty against animals (without a justified reason, i.e. eating them).
This does not mean that you have to kill every single fish you catch, but you can't fish with the intention of releasing all of them. For example, in some scenarios you may say "it was too small so I released it", but in your case, if you and your kids are fishing with a technique that is clearly for small fish (say for example small roaches near the shore) - it is obvious that you are targeting that fish, thus you can be fined for releasing them.

This means that fishermen usually target the fish that is tasty and practical to eat, and the classic minnows that are fun for kids are likely not. So the only option (beside risking the fine) is to take kids to do "serious" fishing, where you actually aim to catch your dinner.
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Old 19.07.2020, 14:56
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Re: Getting started with fishing - kids mostly

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Catch and release is, in principle, forbidden in all Switzerland, as it falls under cruelty against animals (without a justified reason, i.e. eating them).
This does not mean that you have to kill every single fish you catch, but you can't fish with the intention of releasing all of them. For example, in some scenarios you may say "it was too small so I released it", but in your case, if you and your kids are fishing with a technique that is clearly for small fish (say for example small roaches near the shore) - it is obvious that you are targeting that fish, thus you can be fined for releasing them.

This means that fishermen usually target the fish that is tasty and practical to eat, and the classic minnows that are fun for kids are likely not. So the only option (beside risking the fine) is to take kids to do "serious" fishing, where you actually aim to catch your dinner.
Ok i get the principle here .. The kids were not aiming for small fish, that's just what they caught. If they caught something worth eating then we'd do that, that's actually what they wanted, to catch dinner.

Is it possible to do "serious" fishing from shore with basic equipment? Is it just generally frowned upon here, fishing for fun?

I don't mind getting a day license and trying to follow the rules but if it's too prohibitive, maybe i'll just take them over the border again..
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Old 19.07.2020, 15:26
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Re: Getting started with fishing - kids mostly

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maybe i'll just take them over the border again..
Oy oy oy, British fishing in EU waters, lets wait for the Brexit negotiation results first !
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Old 19.07.2020, 15:58
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Re: Getting started with fishing - kids mostly

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Ok i get the principle here .. The kids were not aiming for small fish, that's just what they caught. If they caught something worth eating then we'd do that, that's actually what they wanted, to catch dinner.

Is it possible to do "serious" fishing from shore with basic equipment? Is it just generally frowned upon here, fishing for fun?

I don't mind getting a day license and trying to follow the rules but if it's too prohibitive, maybe i'll just take them over the border again..
I'm not sure what the exact rules are here in Switzerland, but we live in Greifensee, and I often see people fishing at the lake here (on the docks or in their boats), and often with their kids. So I would be very surprised if fishing was something frowned upon here. There is also a festival at the lake here each year where fish caught from the lake is served (and it's actually some of the best fish I've ever had, to be honest).
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Old 19.07.2020, 17:23
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Re: Getting started with fishing - kids mostly

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Is it possible to do "serious" fishing from shore with basic equipment?
Yes.

What you're looking for is called "Freiangelrecht" in German, no idea about the French term. Basically, fish from the dry shore, usually using a single rope. This is allowed in the Lac Léman (possibly more than one rope at a time allowed) and the Lac de Joux. See here for an overview applying to the Lac Leman. It wont' hurt to make sure you got it right, be that by asking in the shop you buy your stuff, fellow fishermen, or the police (FB: /policevaud/).

The exact rules depend on the water, the date, the fish, your position (fishing from the shore or from a boat), and the sun's position. Fortunately your starsign doesn't matter.
A logbook may be required, you may have to report your catch.

If you want to use more elaborate equipment, or fish from a boat, you probably need a permit ("Patent"), for which you need to prove your knowledge (including how to correctly kill the fish). AFAIA you don't need to prove the knowledge when exercising your "Freiangelrecht", but it definitely won't hurt to have the knowledge - I would think it's good practice and recommend taking a course anyway.
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Old 19.07.2020, 18:24
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Re: Getting started with fishing - kids mostly

Love the thread. I saw a few people fishing around Lake Zurich this week.


Does anyone know where I can find the rules ?
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Old 19.07.2020, 18:35
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Re: Getting started with fishing - kids mostly

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Ok i get the principle here .. The kids were not aiming for small fish, that's just what they caught. If they caught something worth eating then we'd do that, that's actually what they wanted, to catch dinner.

Is it possible to do "serious" fishing from shore with basic equipment? Is it just generally frowned upon here, fishing for fun?

I don't mind getting a day license and trying to follow the rules but if it's too prohibitive, maybe i'll just take them over the border again..
Fishing for fun is definitely not frowned upon: if you consider the cost of equipment, licenses and the time you spend fishing - buying x10 amount of that fish in a store would've been cheaper. So we all surely do it for fun as a hobby The thing is, there is really a lot of rules and they need to be followed quite maniacally (fishing regulations are somewhat of a Mona Lisa of Switzerland's art of rule making, in my opinion).

"Kids wanted to catch something for dinner but they caught only small fish so we released it" is a valid situation and it is fair, but there is a catch: if the fishing that your kids are doing is clearly targeting that type of small fish, then your argument might not hold (e.g. they are fishing in very shallow water that is full with minnows and they are using mini hooks and bread, pretty clear what is happening). At the very least, you should be able to explain what type/size of fish you were expecting (i.e. the one you would not release). It will boil down to common sense and whether you convince the police.

Re what type of fishing you can do from the shore, I am not familiar with the fishing situation and specific rules in your area, but in general:
- some bodies of water (including Lac Leman) give you the right to fish without a license if you follow fairly strong limitations in what you do, but for kids with basic equipment it will very likely be fine (so no using artificial bait, spinning, etc.). But it is not suitable for all fish: for example you can probably catch plenty of schwale (roach) by using mais or maggots, but they are not very loved on the dinner table.
- you can buy a daily license and "unblock" full fishing possibilities. But if you want to fish for the "mainstream" fish around (perch, pike, felchen/coregone), you would likely need some specific tackle.

Keep in mind that, even if you fish without a license, you are supposed to follow all the rules, the most important of which: once you land a fish, the first thing you do is either release it or kill it (by stunning and gutting). Keeping a fish with you that is not totally dead is a big no-no.

I don't want to discourage you from taking your kids fishing though, just wanted to lay down all issues ahead I think that the best option is to simply speak with some fishermen in your area - or even better, with a local fishing store, they will be able to suggest you a kid-friendly technique/place and advise on the need of the license.

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If you want to use more elaborate equipment, or fish from a boat, you probably need a permit ("Patent"), for which you need to prove your knowledge (including how to correctly kill the fish).
That is usually true for long-term licenses (e.g. yearly one), but is not required for daily licenses, otherwise tourists or occasional fishermen would not be able to get one.
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Old 19.07.2020, 18:41
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Re: Getting started with fishing - kids mostly

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Love the thread. I saw a few people fishing around Lake Zurich this week.


Does anyone know where I can find the rules ?
For the license-free fishing you can google "freiangelrecht zürichsee". In short: you may fish only from the shore, only with one rod, only with one hook, the hook must be barbless, using simple technique (either static floater or static weight on the ground) and using only natural bait (bread, worm, mais, etc.) but not dead fish.

For the fishing with license, you can either buy a short-term one (e.g. daily) and it will unblock you the second fishing rod (three on a boat), up to 5 hooks on a rod, artificial lures, barbs on the hooks and dead fish as bait. If you want to buy a long-term license (e.g. yearly) you will need to get a SaNa permit (basically passing an exam on your knowledge of fishing rules).
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Old 19.07.2020, 18:55
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Re: Getting started with fishing - kids mostly

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Fishing for fun is definitely not frowned upon: if you consider the cost of equipment, licenses and the time you spend fishing - buying x10 amount of that fish in a store would've been cheaper. So we all surely do it for fun as a hobby The thing is, there is really a lot of rules and they need to be followed quite maniacally (fishing regulations are somewhat of a Mona Lisa of Switzerland's art of rule making, in my opinion).

"Kids wanted to catch something for dinner but they caught only small fish so we released it" is a valid situation and it is fair, but there is a catch: if the fishing that your kids are doing is clearly targeting that type of small fish, then your argument might not hold (e.g. they are fishing in very shallow water that is full with minnows and they are using mini hooks and bread, pretty clear what is happening). At the very least, you should be able to explain what type/size of fish you were expecting (i.e. the one you would not release). It will boil down to common sense and whether you convince the police.

Re what type of fishing you can do from the shore, I am not familiar with the fishing situation and specific rules in your area, but in general:
- some bodies of water (including Lac Leman) give you the right to fish without a license if you follow fairly strong limitations in what you do, but for kids with basic equipment it will very likely be fine (so no using artificial bait, spinning, etc.). But it is not suitable for all fish: for example you can probably catch plenty of schwale (roach) by using mais or maggots, but they are not very loved on the dinner table.
- you can buy a daily license and "unblock" full fishing possibilities. But if you want to fish for the "mainstream" fish around (perch, pike, felchen/coregone), you would likely need some specific tackle.

Keep in mind that, even if you fish without a license, you are supposed to follow all the rules, the most important of which: once you land a fish, the first thing you do is either release it or kill it (by stunning and gutting). Keeping a fish with you that is not totally dead is a big no-no.

I don't want to discourage you from taking your kids fishing though, just wanted to lay down all issues ahead I think that the best option is to simply speak with some fishermen in your area - or even better, with a local fishing store, they will be able to suggest you a kid-friendly technique/place and advise on the need of the license.


That is usually true for long-term licenses (e.g. yearly one), but is not required for daily licenses, otherwise tourists or occasional fishermen would not be able to get one.

Thank you for your good detailed answers .. I've been doing a little research off and on today and I think I've found the good solution for getting started ..

Lac de Richelien, Versoix .. Link ..
This is a stocked lake, part of the river versoix running into Lac Leman... License available from the local fishing shop. Where we can also make sure we've got the correct lures, lines, equipment for what's in this particular lake.

Indeed we often see people with lines in the water in town, by the harbour etc .. But prefer a nice remote location rather than in town.. Like the kids last week here
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Old 19.07.2020, 19:41
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Re: Getting started with fishing - kids mostly

One extra suggestion is to use your existing €6 French licence and try the Lac de Divonne and the small lake in Cessy just over the border too.
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